This article is part of our Digital Marketing for Workspace series
Since launching in 2002, California-based Premier Business Centers has grown to become one of the largest privately owned flexible workspace operators in the United States, currently managing 82 workspace locations across 11 states.
To learn more about their expansion and how digital marketing plays a direct role in the company’s success, Allwork caught up with Mark Burge, Vice President Marketing & Acquisitions at Premier.
“You can’t do the same thing over and over again and expect to see a different result – that is the definition of insanity, after all,” said Mark. “It’s a balancing act of maintaining and growing.”
This is perhaps the most crucial piece of advice relating to digital marketing, which is constantly evolving with the shifting needs of consumers and of course, the evolution of technology.
Mark, a veteran of the flexible workspace industry, joined Premier in 2012 and in addition to marketing is also responsible for the growth of Premier’s portfolio through acquisitions; for Premier, the two fields are very closely linked: “I believe expanding the number of locations and our geographical footprint will present some great opportunities over the coming months.”
Indeed, the company’s rapid pace of expansion over the past 15 years is testament to that – and it’s not set to slow down anytime soon.
As for the company’s current marketing strategy, their focus is “mainly on PPC” along with a mix of secondary channels: “We make sure our on-site content is optimized for organic search and we are in the middle of rolling out a more focused social engagement strategy on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google+.”
Every workspace organization has its own specific approach to the marketing mix, which varies greatly depending on individual circumstance, investment, success rate and of course, resources.
“While all of our channels create quite a bit of lead generation, PPC and Google My Business are huge for us,” said Mark. “It’s all about being in the right place at the right time, with the right offer, and these channels afford us to do just that.”
Considering their location dependence, local SEO is of high importance for workspace operators, which is commonly associated with Google My Business.
Google My Business is a Google service that enables location-based businesses to publish their opening hours, contact details and directions on Google Search and Maps. It also enables companies to collect feedback and star ratings from clients, all of which are publicly visible.
However, search engine algorithms are constantly updating, which can be tricky for workspace operators to follow. In September last year, Google created problems for virtual office and business center clients by releasing an update dubbed ‘Possum’ that affected the performance of local businesses, including business center clients.
“Luckily we have been able to weather the Google storms thus far,” said Mark, which he partly attributes to working with a knowledgeable agency. “They are a Google Premier Partner so they really stay up on their ‘stuff’ when it comes to changes, and advise accordingly. The other side is the data. I am big on numbers and analysis – really understanding what the trends are telling us.
“You have to remain nimble in the field of marketing, and be ready to change with the winds. If you don’t have a system in place that allows you to adapt quickly, you can definitely get caught.
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Being nimble is no easy feat; every workspace operator is faced with the challenge of juggling multiple responsibilities in an ever-changing climate, and marketing is just one of many.
“You can’t be afraid of change,” Mark advises. “Our industry is definitely seeing a shift in the types of users looking for office space – how they search, what they are looking for, the demographics, and so on.
“We have started to craft new strategies on different channels, and really testing it out to see what sticks. New messaging can be scary for some companies, but we know it’s all about how you address the need of your audience.”
As for the immediate future, Mark has his eye on a number of digital marketing trends.
Mobile and local initiatives are currently sitting at the top of the pile, which he advises are “hands down key areas” for filling the funnel. “If you aren’t paying attention to the shifts happening here, you are definitely going to be left in the dark.”
As for those who survived ‘Mobilegeddon’ in 2015, he warns against becoming complacent.
“What’s the big deal? The big deal is that it’s changing, adapting, and becoming more important today than ever. Once a lead is in the funnel, marketing automation is key.
“Delivering the right content to the right person, at the right time, will never go out of style. It will change as your industry does, but the foundation of marketing automation is huge for us.
“Business has become personal, and we want our community and prospective community to feel connected with us. I believe our team is doing a great job – and members of our community can tell.”